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Experts in Barcelona call for smart cities that better integrate people with disabilities

Technology has not been introduced democratically throughout society: international researchers meet to discuss this at a B·Debate session on 5 and 6 October

04.10.2017

Our daily lives have changed radically in recent years thanks to new technology. But… how have people with physical or intellectual disabilities benefitted from this change? Experts believe technology hasn’t permeated society equally. Services have been developed that allow the rest of the citizens to be more involved through digital management of many spheres of community life, but people with disabilities still have many needs that have not yet benefitted from this. These may, paradoxically, set up new barriers in developed societies.

On 5 and 6 October, B·Debate, an initiative of Biocat and the “la Caixa” Foundation, is hosting the debate “Integrative societies and disability: open and smart cities from social sciences”, led by Institut Guttmann and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) Institute of Governance and Public Policies. The event, which will be held at CosmoCaixa, aims to quantify the need for social policies geared towards people with disabilities and debate how to best take advantage of the opportunities new technology offers to allow them to interact with their surroundings.

This debate will bring together researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, like the more technological side and that of social research, plus representatives from the United Nations and the World Health Organization and public administrations including the Barcelona City Council, as well as the organizers of Mobile World Capital.

 

Opportunities for 1 billion people

The WHO estimates that 1 in 7 people in the world live with some sort of disability, which means 1 billion individuals. The upcoming B·Debate will call for open smart cities to be models for integrative societies and discuss the need to identify the opportunities these models could offer people with disabilities.

This is why it is necessary for companies in the service sector to commit to this type of technological development to give people with disabilities access to what they need. For example, identifying problems to eliminate architectural barriers, facilitate access to services, like geolocation of accessible places without architectural barriers, and take this community into account when speaking about managing big data.

 

 

Date: 5 and 6 October

Venue: CosmoCaixa Barcelona · Isaac Newton, 26 · Barcelona

More information is available on the B·Debate website.

Follow the debate on Twitter with the hashtags #BDHM17 and #BDebate or the @BDebate profile.

 

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Institut Guttmann

Un pacient amb discapacitat a l'Institut Guttmann, en una imatge d'arxiu